What’s the first thing you picture when you think of Las Vegas? The casinos, live entertainment, gambling, nightlife, EDC, massive pool parties – these are all valid answers, but how many of you thought of food?
It’s okay – most people don’t.
The culinary scene is one of the most overlooked and under-appreciated qualities of Las Vegas, but that’s not your fault. I mean, when was the last time you saw Vegas marketed as a ‘food town?’
Exactly – it’s not.
But don’t let that fool you.
Like the melting pot that it is, Las Vegas boasts one of the most diverse culinary scenes in the country. It might not be the first thing people think of when planning a trip to Sin City, but we guarantee it’s the thing that’ll leave you most impressed about your visit – and that’s something any local can attest to.
Of course, times are changing – and people are taking notice.
That’s where celebrity chefs come into play. Gordon Ramsey, Michael Mina, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Guy Savoy – celebrity chefs are breathing new life into Las Vegas’ culinary world. Just take one stroll down Las Vegas Blvd., and you’ll see at least one celebrity chef restaurant in just about every hotel and casino.
A Brief History of Celebrity Chefs in Las Vegas
Celebrity chefs will always have a home in Las Vegas, but that wasn’t the case 40 years ago. Just ask Wolfgang Puck – the first celebrity chef to open a restaurant on the Strip. He was ridiculed for bringing his flagship restaurant – Spago – to Vegas in 1992, and even though he knew it was a risk, he did it anyway.
At the time, Vegas was recovering from a 15-year economic slump that spanned most of the 1970s and 1980s. Nothing was being built, and many people were giving up on Vegas – especially with Atlantic City legalizing gambling in 1977.
Things started to change in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened The Mirage – the most expensive resort in the world, at the time. It triggered a massive building boom that saw the opening of the MGM Grand, Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Bellagio, Paris, Mandalay Bay, and much more.
By then, Spago had already established itself as the go-to spot on the Strip, and Wolfgang Puck was considered a genius for giving Las Vegas a chance – paving the way for other chefs to do the same.
Today, you can’t walk through a casino without passing by a celebrity chef restaurant. And if you happen to catch a whiff of what they’re cooking, you’ll have no other option but to stop in and give it a taste test.
Celebrity Chefs With Restaurants in Las Vegas
33 years ago, not a single celebrity chef owned a restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. Today, that number stands in the dozens – some of whom own multiple restaurants on the Strip and the surrounding area.
If it’s fine dining you’re after, then you’ve found it.
From Amalfi to Bobby’s Burgers, Buddy V’s Ristorante, and STRIPSTEAK – let’s take a look at some of the best celebrity chef restaurants Las Vegas has to offer.
1. Michael Mina
Egyptian-born Michael Mina owns more than 40 restaurants around the world, four of which are located right here in Fabulous Las Vegas – Bardot Brasserie, International Smoke, MICHAEL MINA, and STRIPSTEAK.
He’ll soon add Bourbon Steak and ORLA to his Vegas resume – bringing his total to six restaurants — and is still the executive chef (top chef) at his namesake restaurant in Vegas.
Whether you’re in the mood for seafood or a classic American burger, Mina’s award-winning food is always a hit.
2. Gordon Ramsey
Speaking of celebrity chefs who own six restaurants in Las Vegas, let’s not forget about the award-winning chef with several Michelin stars under his belt, Gordon Ramsey – the man, the myth, the legend.
Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen. Gordon Ramsey Burger. Gordon Ramsey Steak. Gordon Ramsey Pub & Grill. Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips. And his newest addition to the family – Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen.
You can taste some of his all-time favorite seasonal dishes at Hell’s Kitchen, which features design elements that’ll stick out to fans of the famous TV show.
3. Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even won four Emmy awards for his work on the Food Network, but Las Vegas knows him for his juicy burgers and incredible Mediterranean menu.
Today, Flay has four restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip – Amalfi, which is located in Caesars Palace, and Bobby’s Burgers, which is located in Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, and Paris.
When you’re not in the mood for a burger, Amalfi has a fine selection of fresh fish (straight from the Mediterranean Sea) and pasta – as well as a crafty dessert tasting menu.
4. Buddy Valastro
You may know him from TLC’s Cake Boss, but we know Buddy Valastro for his Italian cuisine at Buddy V’s Ristorante – located in the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian Resort.
From pasta to ribeye steak, filet mignon, cheesy garlic bread, and Grandma’s meatballs, all paired with a fine Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay – you can’t go wrong at Buddy V’s.
And why not top it all off with a luxurious dessert that features tiramisu, cannoli, Nutella cake, crème brulee, pumpkin cheesecake, and sugared donut holes – yes, please!
5. Guy Savoy
Guy Savoy is one of the most successful, top chef masters of all time. He owns several restaurants in Paris, France, but only one restaurant in the United States – and it’s right here in Las Vegas.
Restaurant Guy Savoy is one of the finest restaurants in all of Vegas. It’s located inside Caesars Palace and features some of the most exquisite French cuisine you’ll find in this city — including some of his signature dishes straight from Paris.
The artichoke and black truffle soup is incredible, the lobster and salmon are perfect, and the American Wagyu filet is out of this world – but which one will you go with?
Il Toro E La Capra: The Brainchild of Javier Barajas
Welcome to Il Toro E La Capra – one of the most unique dining experiences in all of Las Vegas. We’re just a few minutes away from the Fabulous Las Vegas sign and Mandalay Bay, so check us out!
Javier Baraja’s classic fusion of Mexican and Italian cuisine is unlike anything you’ve ever tried. Chicken, steak, lamb chops, carne asada, pizza, tacos, burritos, pasta, risotto – we have something for everyone!
While you’re waiting for your food, you can enjoy the nostalgic sights and sounds of Old Las Vegas (the 1970s) in a setting inspired by Casino, a 1995 film by Martin Scorcese – one of Chef Baraja’s favorites.
You can find us at 6435 S Decatur Blvd or book a reservation by calling us at 702-331-6090. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!